the unfinished bridge

Cape Town’s unfinished N2 bridge as seen from Marine Drive through the lens of Ballack Art House.

I didn’t think I’d be spending most of the morning crying. I was smack bang in the middle of nature’s call to shed. And I was determined to shed! But why the tears?

What I didn’t realise was that I was hovering mid-air, stuck on a half-completed bridge between memories of who I was and hopes of who I hope to become. Since I have no desire to return to who I was, I find myself having to wait for the completion of this bridge toward the future. It is a bridge that stretches toward the Mother City. The edges of its incompleteness hangs over Cape Town’s vena cava and I’m clinging to the hope that that is indeed where my future lies.

Right now though, I’m undeniably called back to take a last look at what I’m leaving behind. And there is this faint suspicion that I’ll have to do it a few more times before my bridge is complete. Sean Moeller of Bon Iver speaks of a heat loss, a bleeding heart and a wanton hope that sounds very much like a description of me caught on this unfinished bridge.

What lies at the other, undesirable end of my bridge are eyes that I can no longer “smile to or lose myself in.” Eyes and a smile that were never mine to begin with. It’s strange how music, a favourite song from the other side of the bridge or that unforgettable shared melody, serves to call one back to the unfinished business on that side of the bridge. Unfinished business is messy business. And often the only comfort to be found in the midst of such messiness is that very thing that led you to the torture chamber in the first place – music.

So, today I find myself on an unfinished bridge in an unfinished state being serenaded to by Jack’s Mannequin, promising that one day there’ll be a perfect shade of dark blue… when there’s a me and you.

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